Stargazing at Langdale

Friday night Stella and I headed up to the Langdale Valley for an overnight camp, and I took advantage of the lovely dark skies there to do some astrophotography with my iOptron tracker. The pictures turned out pretty well, I think… 🙂

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Central Cassiopeia…

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Comet Lovejoy, now drifting up towards Polaris…

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Moon with Earthshine setting behind the fells…

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The North American Nebula, near Deneb…

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The Milky Way…

Can’t wait to go back there in summer to catch the Milky Way stretching overhead from horizon to horizon…


Quick update on a couple of things…

* Be sure to look west after dark for the next couple of weeks, to see Jupiter (left) and Venus (right) coming together in the twilight. Very pretty!

* Any clear night from now until the end of July, keep an eye on the northern sky after midnight for a display of NLC, or “noctilucent clouds”.


The first NLC have been spotted by monitoring satellites, so the first naked eye display could occur any night now, tho it’s more likely going to be early June before we see anything. What are NLC? Full details here…

* Due to lack of interest (only two people replied to the emails) there will be no “EAS Camping Weekend”. Stella and I will probably head off somewhere anyway, and when we get somewhere booked we’ll let anyone interested in joining us there for an *informal* event know.



Success at Shap…

Late last night, after quite a few cloudy nights in a row, I managed to grab some photos. Stella and I headed up to Shap just after 10, and were later joined by Carol, and before a huge bank of filthy black cloud barrelled in, bringing with it rain and a chill wind, I managed to get some pretty nice pictures with my iOptron star tracker.

As you probably know, I’ve been following Comet Lovejoy since last Christmas (my first sighting of it was actually on Boxing Day evening, from Kendal Castle). For a while it was visible to the naked eye, and was a very pretty comet, but it has faded a lot now, and is now only visible to small telescopes and binoculars. It is now just beneath the Pole Star, Polaris, and over the next week and a half will slowly drift up towards and then pass that famous star…

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Last night I managed to take a few more pictures, ad here’s the result after stacking and processing them…


I also managed to take some pictures of the famous “North American Nebula”, near Deneb, one of my favourite photographic objects…

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Really pleased with that! 🙂

But what I really was hoping to photograph was the Milky Way, now coming back into view after languishing beneath the horizon since late autumn. I was very interested to see what the iOptron tracker would do when used on the star-clouds and dust lanes of the Milky Way – and I wasn’t disappointed…


Can’t wait to get to the Dalby star party in August and let the tracker loose on the summer Milky Way as it cuts the sky in half…!

Eddington AS May Meeting


Another hugely enjoyable meeting of the Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal at Kendal Museum last night! After a round up of space and astronomy news by EAS Secretary Stuart Atkinson, and a brief talk on “Spring Galaxies” by EAS Treasurer Simon White, which was illustrated with many of Simon’s own beautiful images, Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal members were treated to a fascinating talk by a very special guest speaker, amateur astronomer, astro-photographer, Outreacher and light pollution campaigner ROBERT INCE.


During his very enjoyable talk, Robert – who has had his work published in ASTRONOMY NOW magazine, and is a well-known face at star parties around the country – explained and showed how amateurs, using modest equipment and cheap or even free software, can take images of the night sky and use them to look for and identify comets, asteroids, supernovae and more.


I’m sure that as soon as we get a decent run of clear nights (don’t laugh!) many EAS members will be aiming their cameras at the sky and tracking down some of the objects Robert told us about!

EAS PlanetWatch, Kendal Castle, Thursday night

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On Thursday night there will be an EAS “PlanetWatch” up at Kendal Castle, to enjoy the sight of Jupiter, Venus and Mercury all lined up in the west after sunset (shown above). Because it won’t get dark enough to see anything until half nine at the earliest I don’t think many non-astronomers would hike up there to join us! Of course, anyone who does will be very welcome, but this is really just a chance for us to get together and enjoy a pretty planetary line-up in the sky. So, weather permitting, Kendal Castle from 9.30pm. I’ll take my small telescope, and if anyone else wants to bring anything along that’s great, but not essential. Bring cameras tho, because the line up will look really pretty above the golden lights of the Auld Grey Town.

Stuart A